Brian McKnight Talks New Music, Death of Prince, L.A. Rams and More

Brian McKnight was the host of the morning show for three wonderful years. We had a fun reunion at The WAVE’s studios recently.  Brian sat in on the morning show and then spent some time talking about what’s going on in his life.  We also listened to his brand new single “Better,” the title track from his latest studio album.  Brian’s got a lot going with the new music, a new love and a whole lot more.


Below is more of my conversation with Brian which you didn’t hear on the air:

For his new project Brian has gone back to his roots. He says there is very little computer generated music on this album. He brought his band into the studio and they cut 14 songs in two and a half days. It felt a lot like what he did on his earlier records. Brian says that when he was making his last couple of albums he spent too much energy trying to figure out how to fit into what is happening now instead of just being Brian McKnight. He is proud of this new project because of his authenticity.

I know what a big Prince fan he is so I asked Brian for his reactions to the death of Prince. He says that when he heard about it he was at the gym and he didn’t want to believe. Brian and I were in the studio when we heard about the death of Michael Jackson and it’s a sad memory we will always share. He says one of the interesting things about hearing about Prince was that he wanted confirmation from TMZ that this was really happening. When we heard about Michael, everybody wanted someone else other than TMZ to confirm it. Since the time of Michael’s death, TMZ has become a credible authority for celebrity news. Brian says that when Prince died he didn’t say anything on social media. In fact, he didn’t post anything about anything for about a week in a sort of social media moment of silence in Prince’s honor. We both agreed that we all need to let people know how we feel about them before we lose them.

Brian has always idolized Maurice White too so we talked about his passing as well. Brian was fortunate to have worked with Maurice White on the Earth, Wind and Fire project “Illumination”. The album featured the band with a list of special guests that included the Emotions, Rafael Saadiq and Gerald Albright. Brian says the song he wrote, entitled “To You”, was something he wrote thinking he’d like to do an Earth, Wind and Fire type song. He made the demo and even sang like Maurice on it. A mutual friend let Maurice hear Brian’s demo while they were gathering music for the project and Maurice loved it. Brian says the best part was having Maurice call him up and say he wanted to come over to Brian’s house to talk about how they would do it. Brian said it was like if a little kid who idolized Superman, actually had Superman come visit his house. We both agreed that Stevie Wonder had better take care of himself because we don’t want to lose anyone else who means so much to us.

Brian and I are both huge sports fans and some of our most fun conversations when we worked together were on that topic. It was fun catching up on a couple of the biggest sports stories in recent history. We were among the millions of basketball fans who watched what was arguably one of the greatest sports nights ever when the Golden State Warriors broke the Chicago Bulls single season win record at the same time that Kobe Bryant was dropping 60p in his final game as a Laker. Even though Kobe didn’t go out with a championship like Peyton Manning but what a way to go. He also says he admires the style of basketball that the Warriors play because they share the ball and they play like a well-oiled machine.

Brian also weighed in on the return of the LA Rams. He is super excited about LA having an NFL team again. Brian is on the waiting list for tickets and says he can’t wait.

Finally we talked about Brian’s two sons, Nikko and BJ, who I met while we were working together. Brian believes the kids couldn’t have picked a worse time to start careers in music but since they’re grown now. He hopes they can find their own way. He says it’s the hardest part of being a parent when you watch them grow up and make their own mistakes. He’s happy to help them if they need help but he wants them to know that means they need to listen to. It was great seeing Brian again and I’m sure we’ll be seeing him out on tour soon is support of the new project.

Check out the video for Brian’s new single “Better” below:


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